Best friends work, play hard together

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When you get to do everything with your best friend, it makes life a lot more fun.

Abby Claire Fuller and Maddie Watkins, eighth-graders at Warren Central Junior High, have been friends “forever” and are trying to do everything together. They both run cross country, are captains of Warren Central High School’s junior varsity soccer team, play volleyball and cheer. The girls are also bright students with superior grades.

Watkins and Fuller have always played soccer together and different influences led them to the other three sports.

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“I’ve done cheer for a few years but we wanted to try volleyball and it turned out to be fun. In cross country, I’ve ran in a few races and then did cross county this year and last year,” Watkins said.

“Cross country keeps me in shape for my other sports,” Fuller added. “I got cheer from my mom and sister and volleyball from my mom.”

Despite their young age, the duo handles the student-athlete balancing act well.

“It’s hard in the afternoon when you have three sports to go to and then you have to come home and study, but school comes easy to me,” Watkins said.

The girls’ favorite sport is soccer, while their least favorite is running cross county. In cross country they train by running at least two miles everyday, whereas in soccer the training is more along the lines of drills with the ball and less running.

Even though both sports incorporate running for sustained periods of time, the physical distance is what differentiates the two.

“Well, you’re sprinting 100 yards at the most in soccer and in cross country, you run like three or 10 miles a week,” Fuller said.

Over at Warren Central High, the captains are responsible for teaching teammates new maneuvers and strategies, and make sure everyone is in line or they’ll be the ones reprimanded.

“It’s fun but it’s a lot of responsibility,” Fuller said. “There are only a few that are older than us on the JV team. Most of us are in junior high, but it’s difficult trying to tell someone your age what to do because it’s kind of not fair.”

Warren Junior principal Cedric Magee has seen the girls mature over the past few years and said they handle the student-athlete role well.

“They were pretty mature students coming in so I really think them being a part of these different sports have instilled different aspects of discipline in their lives and allows them to be a little bit more mature than a lot of our students we have at this age level.

“It starts at the home. They have a great support system at home, which allows them to excel to be successful in academics, which is first,” Magee said.

Magee thinks Fuller and Watkins have built a solid foundation for themselves going forward in their educational careers.

“There’s going to be different challenges they face and as they grow, with the support system they have at home, they will ask questions, they show leadership at school and I don’t think they’ll have a problem with that at all.”